Zephyrs 9, Cubs 1

New Orleans scored four runs in the fourth inning after a two-out error by Iowa first baseman Chris Valaika, and Elih Villanueva shut out the Cubs on two hits through seven innings Thursday night at Zephyr Field.

Jake Cox grounded to Valaika, and it got past him into right field, enabling Justin the Bour to score from third. Villanueva (3-1) then dumped a single into left off Kyle Hendricks (3-3), scoring Jake Marisnick from third. Josh Rodriguez followed with a double off the top of the left-field wall, plating Cox and Villanueva.

In the seventh, Mark Canha hit a three-run homer and Kyle Jensen a two-run shot.

Friday’s game

WHAT: New Orleans Zephyrs vs. Iowa Cubs

WHERE: Zephyr Field, Metairie

WHEN: 7 p.m.

PROBABLE PITCHERS: Zephyrs RH Jay Rogers (1-1, 4,43 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Erik Jokisch (2-2, 3.65)



Zephyrs second baseman Jordany Valdespin didn’t stay long in Triple-A last season. He played 16 games with the Pacific Coast League Las Vegas 51s, hit .466 and was called up to the parent New York Mets.

He lasted 66 games with the Mets but batted just .166. The 2012 season with New York also was not impressive although more promising — .241 in 94 games.

However, when the Miami Marlins signed Valdespin, 26, it was seen as a good move in baseball circles.

“He’s got a lot of potential, and he’s still at that age where he’s a prospect,” said a former Mets scout who saw Valdespin extensively but now is with an American League team. “He’s a good athlete, he can hit, he can run, he’s got good hands, and he can throw.”

However, he said, Valdespin can be very temperamental.

“He’s got All-Star talent and a Little League head,” the scout said. “But I’d take him. Maybe he will mature.”

His arrival to Miami was delayed until April 4 because of visa problems, and then he went through an extended spring straining.

He joined the Z’s on May 2, and has gotten a hit in all five of his games, batting .304. Z’s manager Andy Haines said the Marlins see Valdespin as a super-sub who can play second, third, shortstop and the outfield.

Extra bases

Friday is Pink in the Park Day, and the Zephyrs will wear pink jerseys in observance of breast cancer awareness. The jerseys will be auctioned to fans after the game. … Pitcher James Nygren, who was brought up from Jacksonville on May 1 after Chris Hatcher broke the jaw of fellow reliever Sam Dyson, was sent back down to the Suns on Wednesday.

In two relief appearances over five innings with the Z’s, Nygren allowed three runs on five hits.

… With Valdespin having arrived, second baseman Taylor Harbin was assigned to extended spring training in Jupiter, Fla., after which he will join the Class A team in Batavia. Harbin, who was signed as a sixth-year free agent, admittedly struggled trying to prove himself to a new organization, batting .133 in 14 games. … The no-hitter by Iowa’s Chris Rusin against the Zephyrs on Wednesday was the first in the PCL since 2009, by Oklahoma City’s Luis Mendoza. … Iowa infielder Chris Valaika, who leads the team with a .330 batting average, played for the Z’s last season, hitting .246 in 37 games. ... After Friday’s game, the Z’s play eight games in nine days at Omaha and at Colorado Springs before returning home May 19.

Darrell Williams